This week in asset owner history: Ontario Teachers' hires new APAC head

In 2015, the Canadian pension fund hired a new head of Asia Pacific as a part of a regional build-out. The size and depth of Asia presence have since evolved – and that former regional head is now CIO at one of the largest US pension funds.
This week in asset owner history: Ontario Teachers' hires new APAC head

On September 13 2015, Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (Ontario Teachers') announced Nicole Musicco as its new Asia-Pacific head. The announcement came after Musicco had relocated from the Toronto headquarter to Hong Kong over the summer to take up the role, a spokesperson told AsianInvestor.

Nicole Musicco

Ontario Teachers' opened its Asia-Pacific office in Hong Kong in 2013. At that time, Alison Nankivell, Toronto-based director of funds for Asia, had been tipped to head the Hong Kong office, but left Ontario Teachers' for another role.

When Musicco took over, it had a diversified portfolio of assets in the region valued at C$12 billion ($9.1 billion) as of December 31 2014. Fast forward to today where Ontario Teachers' had more than C$20 billion in the region as of December 31 2021, making up around 10% of its total AUM of C$241.6 billion according to its 2021 annual report.


On September 28 2020, Ontario Teachers' announced that they expanded their Asia-Pacific presence by opening an office in Singapore in addition to the Hong Kong office. At the time, the pension fund had more than 30 employees and approximately C$15 billion invested in the region.

Since then, the presence has now grown to include over 40 employees. The team now has dedicated managing directors for asset types including infrastructure, direct equities and direct private equity.

Ben Chan

Since July 2018, Ben Chan has been Asia-Pacific head at Ontario Teachers'. He joined from Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad, where he was co-head of investments and led investment activities in China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Also read: Ontario Teachers' focuses investment in three Asia Pacific markets


Musicco’s time as Ontario Teachers' Asia-Pacific head became relatively short-lived. According to her LinkedIn profile, Musicco left the Asia-Pacific role in January 2017, after 1 year and 8 months, to relocate back to the pension fund's headquarters in Toronto where she took over as head of public equities until December 2018.

After roles at Investment Management Corporation of Ontario and RedBird Capital Partners, Musicco joined California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) as chief investment officer in February 2022.

That puts her in charge of a CalPERS total AUM valued at $459.1 billion as of July 31 2022, according to its latest monthly update. According to its 2020-21 annual report, the value was $485 billion as of June 30 2022, and although CalPERS does not disclose regional allocations, investments made in Asia-Pacific currencies alone amounted to over $52 billion, or 10.7%, by then.

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